Wednesday 17 February 2016

(206) Ashhurst of Waterstock, baronets

Ashhurst of Waterstock
The Ashhurst family can be traced back to Lancashire origins in the 13th century, when Simon de Ashhurst granted to his son Robert all his land in Dalton, and to his son John all his land in Ashhurst. A later Adam Ashhurst fought in the French wars under Edward III, was knighted, and received a grant of lands in Essex and Hertfordshire. His descendants can be traced in Lancashire down to 1437, but there is then a gap in the documentary record until the middle of the 16th century, when William Ashhurst extended his property by buying the manor of Ashhurst (Lancs) in two purchases. This William Ashhurst was in 1590 reported to be 'soundly affected in religion', and the family continued to be firmly Protestant in a part of the country where most of their neighbours were Catholics. In the 17th century, they adopted Puritan and Presbyterian beliefs, and may have worshipped privately in nonconformist chapels although they always publicly conformed to the Church of England. William Ashhurst died in 1618, and was succeeded by his son Henry (d. 1645), with whom the genealogy below begins. He married Cassandra Bradshaw, and had several children, including Henry (c.1615-80), who moved to London and became a wealthy draper and alderman; and the eldest son William (1607-56), who inherited Ashurst's Hall and was a member of the Long Parliament, and also of Cromwell's Parliament of 1654. Initially hot for war, by the late 1640s he was regarded as a moderate. Another brother, Lt-Col. John Ashhurst, took an active part in the Civil War in the north-west on the Parliamentary side and was Governor of Liverpool, but in 1651 changed sides and supported King Charles II during his abortive bid to recapture the kingdom. 

Henry Ashhurst (c.1615-80) had several sons, of whom the two eldest made careers in politics as well as business. Curiously, despite their Whig and dissenting leanings, both men achieved their honours under the Catholic King James II, who sought to draw them into support of a belated policy of religious toleration, which would have benefited dissenters as well as Catholics. The elder son, Henry, was made a baronet; his younger brother Thomas was knighted. The new regime of William & Mary offered both men opportunities, and Thomas became Lord Mayor of London in 1693-94, but their opinions were old-fashioned and they found it difficult to adapt to a world in which the Puritan certainties of their youth were increasingly challenged. Sir Henry in particular, as the London representative of several American colonies, fought a losing battle to preserve the godly ethos of Massachusetts.  In their personal lives, wealth from trade made both men more successful. Sir Henry bought the Waterstock (Oxon) estate in 1691 and built a new house there in 1695-96. This passed to his son and heir, Sir Henry Ashhurst (1672-1732), 2nd bt., but he died childless and he bequeathed his property to the Lancashire branch of the family.

Sir Thomas bought land at Highgate (Middx) in 1682 which had formed part of the Arundel House estate, and built there the house later called Ashhurst House. Sir Thomas' eldest son having predeceased him, the Highgate property passed at his death in 1720 to his grandson, William Pritchard Ashhurst (1699-1773), who sold it five years later. Sir Thomas' younger son, Robert Ashhurst (1671-1725) bought the Castle Hedingham (Essex) estate in 1713 and built a new house there by 1720, which passed in turn to two of his sons, William Ashhurst (1696-1735) and Thomas Ashhurst (1701-65), and then through the female line to the Majendie family.

Thomas Henry Ashhurst (1672-1744), the grandson of William Ashhurst (1607-56) of Ashhurst's Hall (Lancs), was both the nearest heir male to Sir Henry Ashhurst, 2nd bt., and his cousin, having married the daughter of Sir Henry's sister, Frances, Lady Allin. He was therefore the natural and obvious heir to Waterstock. He trained as a barrister and became Vice-Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, which may imply that his interests remained focused on his Lancashire property. His son, Henry Ashhurst (1720-77) sold the family's Lancashire estate and lived thereafter in London, where he died unmarried. His heir was his younger brother, the eminent but conservative and severe judge, Sir William Henry Ashhurst (1726-1807), kt., who rebuilt the house at Waterstock - which had perhaps been neglected by his brother - in 1787, probably to the designs of S.P. Cockerell.  At the judge's death the estate passed to his son, William Henry Ashhurst (1778-1846), who became the model early 19th century public-spirited landowner. For many years he seems to have run Oxfordshire almost single-handed, serving as MP for the county, Chairman of Quarter Sessions and chairman of the county agricultural society, and leaving behind him a reputation for generosity and humanity. His eldest son having died young, his heir was his second son, John Henry Ashhurst (1813-85), who was a less dynamic echo of his father. His son, another William Henry Ashhurst (1851-1929), was once again more prominent in public life, being chairman of the County Council for eighteen years and of Thame Rural District Council from its inception in 1894 until his death. In his private life he had the sadness of siring no son to continue the male line of the family, and so Waterstock passed to his elder daughter Gladys Ashhurst (1883-1949) and on her death to her sister's son, Harry William Arthur Ruck Keene (1920-2001), whose family - the Ruck Keenes of Swyncombe Park - will be the subject of a future post.

I have standardised the spelling of the family name as Ashhurst in this post, which was how it was most commonly rendered throughout the centuries. It is frequently found with only one h, however, and occasionally in more exotic forms. Sir Henry Ashhurst (1645-1711), 1st bt. and his son, and Sir William Ashhurst (1647-1720), kt. all used the form Ashurst more frequently than other members of the family, and Ashurst's Hall, Dalton always seems to be spelt with one h today.

Ashurst's Hall, Dalton, Lancashire

Ashurst's Hall, Dalton: gatehouse
The present house is a 19th century building which has been extensively modernised in the late 20th century, but on the other side of the drive is a small but picturesque detached gatehouse, once dated 1649, which is a survival from the house of the Ashhursts on this site. It has a central archway with a moulded round arch with keystone, and moulded responds, and a two-light mullioned window above. To either side are low one-bay wings, also with two light mullioned windows. There is also a square 17th century dovecote, restored in 1985.

Waterstock House, Oxfordshire

The manor house at Waterstock underwent a number of rebuildings between the medieval period and the 18th century. Nothing is known about the medieval house except that, as it was occupied by several important families of Oxfordshire gentry (the Bruleys in the 13th and 14th centuries, and the Danvers in the 15th century), it must have been a house of some size. By 1500 the windows of the house were decorated with heraldic glass, for in his account of the painted glass still there in the 17th century, Anthony Wood mentions the arms of Danvers and the related families of Bruley and Verney. In the 16th and 17th centuries the house passed to the Cave and later the Croke families, and by the mid 17th century it was one of the larger houses in the county, being taxed on 23 hearths in 1665. The arms of Croke and related families were in the windows of the upstairs drawing-room, the great and little parlours and the hall. Plot shows the house on his map of Oxfordshire, and mentions the abele tree grown by Sir George Croke, a 'learned and curious botanist', who was one of the earliest members of the Royal Society.
Waterstock House, as rebuilt for Sir Henry Ashhurst in 1695-96, from a 1702 estate map of Great Milton. Image: © John Leighfield
The Crokes were strong supporters of the parliamentary cause and when General Ireton wrote from Waterstock on 16 April 1646, about his preparations for the siege of Wallingford, it is probable that he had his headquarters at the house of George Croke. This house was pulled down in 1695 and was replaced in 1695-96 by a new red brick building for Sir Henry Ashhurst. The architect is unknown, but given Sir Henry's London connections, it was probably a London master craftsman; certainly a London joiner called Thomas Hodges was commissioned to wainscot the hall and a passage-way leading to the south-west part of the mansion. The house seems to be recorded only in a small vignette on a 1702 estate map of the nearby village of Great Milton, which shows a five bay, two-storey house with a hipped roof, and one-bay single-storey lean-to wings to either side. 

Waterstock House: the entrance front of the 1787 house.
Image: Reproduced by permission of Historic England: Ian H. Taylor Collection

Waterstock House: the side elevation and garden front of the 1787 house.
Image: Reproduced by permission of Historic England: Ian H. Taylor Collection

In 1787-91 Sir William Henry Ashhurst, kt. replaced the late 17th century house with a new three-storey stone block rather higher up the slope above the church. According to a manuscript memorandum among the family papers the architect was 'Sir Richard Coucerell', which must be an error for S. P. Cockerell (1754–1827). The new building was rectangular with an entrance front of five widely spaced bays and severely plain side elevations of five bays. The garden front had window spacing to match the side elevations, resulting in a six-bay facade on this side. On the entrance front, the pedimented central bay projected and had a six-panelled door in a Doric surround with sidelights and an arched fanlight, with a Venetian window with engaged Ionic columns on the first floor. The only other decoration on the house was provided by a plat band at the first floor level, a modillion cornice, and quoins at the angles. 

Waterstock House: drawing room.
Image: Reproduced by permission of Historic England: Ian H. Taylor Collection

Waterstock House: staircase hall.
Image: Reproduced by permission of Historic England: Ian H. Taylor Collection

Inside the house the main rooms were elegantly proportioned but plain to the point of severity, with just moulded cornices, mahogany doors and simple fireplaces. The exception was the top-lit staircase hall, which was an impressive space with a cantilevered stone stair rising around three sides of a square well. On the first floor the landing was screened from the stairwell by an arcade, some of it blind but partially glazed so as to admit light to the corridor behind.

Sir Henry Ashhurst improved and enlarged his garden by taking in part of the churchyard by agreement with the rector, and was no doubt responsible for reusing the bricks from the old house to create the walled garden. His son W. H. Ashhurst is said to have laid out the grounds in 1807-08 'under the direction of Sir John Hopper' (possibly the architect Thomas Hopper is meant), and the lake shown on the tithe map of 1848 was probably formed at this time. 

Waterstock House:the former service wing was converted into the main house in the 1950s.

When Gladys Ashhurst died in 1949 the estate passed to her nephew, Maj. Harry Ruck-Keene, who converted the service wing into a small house and pulled down the main building in 1953 or 1956, owing to the expense of its upkeep. The resulting two-storey house is of four bays with a single-storey extension on the left hand side. A stone cartouche of arms, formerly over the central door of the stable courtyard, is set above the entrance door; a marble mantlepiece, moved from the old mansion, is in the drawing-room; and the staircase is a copy, on a reduced scale, of the Georgian staircase of the old mansion. The Georgian stable courtyard to the south-east of the house was also preserved and is now the basis for a prominent equestrian training centre. 

Descent: sold 1691 to Sir Henry Ashhurst (d. 1710), 1st bt.; to son, Sir Henry Ashhurst (d. 1732), 2nd bt.; to niece Diana, wife of Thomas Henry Ashhurst (1672-1744); to son, Henry Ashhurst (1720-77); to brother, Sir William Henry Ashhurst (1725-1807), kt.; to son, William Henry Ashhurst (1778-1846); to son, John Henry Ashhurst (1813-85); to son, William Henry Ashhurst (1851-1929); to daughter, Gladys Ashhurst (d. 1949); to nephew, Harry William Arthur Ruck Keene (1920-2001); to first cousin once removed, David Ruck Keene (b. 1948).

Ashhurst House, Highgate, Middlesex

In 1675 Sir William Ashhurst (1647-1720), kt. acquired a long narrow rectangular plot of land that fronted on the north the road called South Grove in the centre of Highgate village. His acquisition formed part of the grounds of Arundel House at Highgate, and included a house called the Banqueting House, which presumably began as a garden building. By the 1620s, the Banqueting House may already have been bigger than its name suggests, because when Francis Bacon, Lord Verulam, fell ill during a visit to Arundel House, he was put up in the Banqueting House, and died there on 9 April 1626. 

Arundel House, Highgate, of c.1590. Reproduced by the Survey of London from a lost sketch 'once in the Gardner Collection'.
Arundel House took its name from its ownership, between 1610 and 1632, by Thomas Howard, 2nd Earl of Arundel, the 'founder of modern collecting', who famously made art collecting fashionable among the English nobility, and filled his house in London with his remarkable collections. Arundel House, Highgate, was, however, built before he acquired it, and dated from the time of Sir William Cornwallis, who acquired the estate in 1588 and by 1593 had at Highgate "a very faire house from which he may behold with great delight the staidie citie of London, Westminster, Greenwich, the famous river of Thamyse, and the country towards the south very farre", as John Norden observed. This description fits well enough with the drawing above, which clearly shows a house designed to take advantage of a prospect: a rather curious five-bay square house with bay windows at either end of each front, clasping the angles; a gabled parapet concealing a pyramidal roof cut off to form a platform commanding the view over London; and a higher stair turret in one corner. The building clearly fits within a tradition of square villas which existed in the late 16th century alongside the more traditional forms. But there is a problem. 
The Old Hall, Highgate, from the south
The drawing shows a free-standing square house, with no suggestion of an attached service wing, while the documentary evidence shows that Arundel House was a long thin house that fronted onto South Grove. It had been subdivided by the 1670s (something that a square plan would make very difficult) and Sir William Ashhurst later acquired part of it and rebuilt it in 1691 as a house called The Old Hall, which is visible on the skyline of the view below to the right of the avenue leading to Ashhurst House The older gabled buildings shown in the engraving adjoining it to the east were presumably the remaining parts of Arundel House, and in no way correspond to the drawing above. (The Old Hall survives, incidentally, considerably altered by later generations, and now belongs to Terry Gilliam, the film director, actor and comedian). In the light of this discrepancy, I think it is possible that the early view of 'Arundel House' actually shows the building known in the records as the Banqueting House. The form of the house suggests to me a building designed for pleasure, which would accord with its name; the drawing I reproduce is on the same sheet of paper as a pen portrait of Francis Bacon, whose connection was with the Banqueting House rather than Arundel House, and the building is of approximately the same scale and shape as Ashhurst House, which was the successor to the Banqueting House. 

Ashurst House, Highgate: engraving by John Harris c.1715,
Image: Government Art Collection. Licenced under the Open Government Licence

All this is suggestive rather than conclusive, however, and what we know is that Sir William Ashhurst rebuilt (or perhaps remodelled) the Banqueting House as a three-storey brick house with stone or stuccoed centrepieces and pediments on the main facades, probably in 1682 (the date on a fragment of masonry said to come from the house). The new building was depicted in an engraving by John Harris the elder in the Nouveau Theatre de la Grande Bretagne (1715-17), and is also shown in two early 19th century drawings which appear to depict the entrance front and side elevation. Harris’ view, which shows the seven bay garden front, also shows an elaborate garden layout with parterres, a long walk leading to a covered seat, and an octagonal summerhouse. The view of the entrance front suggests that this side was treated as a nine-bay elevation, with more closely-spaced fenestration to either side of the centre, giving the house a more pronounced Dutch feel than is apparent on the more finished engraving above.

Ashurst House, Highgate: a pencil drawing of the entrance front by George Arnold. Image: Bishopsgate Institute.

Ashurst House, Highgate: a now lost early 19th century drawing of the side elevation, 'formerly in the Gardner Collection'.
The house was demolished in 1830 to make way for Vulliamy’s St. Michael, Highgate, which was built upon the old foundations and incorporates part of the wine cellar in its crypt. The approach to the church from South Grove marks the site of the approach avenue to the house. The remaining grounds were taken with adjoining land to form the site of Highgate West Cemetery, the steep slopes of which remind us of John Norden's sense of Arundel House as a 'prospect house'. 

Descent: site sold 1588 to Sir William Cornwallis, who built Arundel House and sold it in 1610 to Thomas Howard (1586-1646), 2nd/14th Earl of Arundel; sold 1632 to Thomas Gardner (d. 1652); sold 1641 to Sir Robert Payne (d. 1658); to son, William Payne (b. 1647), who sold 1670 to Francis Blake; sold Banqueting House and part of site 1674 to Andrew Campion; sold 1675 to William Blake, woollen draper, who sold 1681 to his son, Daniel Blake, who sold 1682 to Sir William Ashurst (1647-1720), kt., who built Ashhurst House; to grandson, William Pritchard Ashurst (1699-1773), who sold 1725 to John Edwards (d. 1769); to granddaughter, Sarah, wife of Thomas Cave; to daughter Sarah, wife of Henry Otway (later Otway Cave) who with her son and others sold 1830 to the Commissioners for Building New Churches, who demolished it.

Castle Hedingham House, Essex

Castle Hedingham House: an 18th century drawing of the house

The ruined Norman castle was bought in 1713 by Robert Ashhurst, a London sugar-baker (and the son of Sir William Ashhurst, Lord Mayor in 1693-94), who built a new brick house in the outer bailey of the castle. Horace Walpole, always waspish, thought it, in 1748 'a trumpery new house... in the bad taste of architecture that came between the charming venerable gothic and pure architecture'. 

Castle Hedingham House: garden front

The new house was completed by about 1720 (the date 1719 is on the rainwater heads). The principal range is of seven bays and two storeys with a high parapet, and the south front has an Ionic stone doorcase. To the east of this range and set back from it is a further seven-bay pedimented block which is believed to be an earlier building remodelled at the same time as the main house was built. The two blocks are connected by a late 19th century entrance porch. 

Castle Hedingham House: the hall and the foot of the staircase, 1920.

Inside the main block has a fine entrance hall with a spacious contemporary staircase with a wrought iron railing. The gardens were laid out by Robert Ashhurst, whose initials and the date 1720 appear on an octagonal dovecote in the grounds. The main feature is the canal formed from a series of medieval fishponds, and in 1726 one Adam Holt was employed to form an octagonal basin at the north end of the canal and to plant an avenue alongside it.

Descent: Charles Cokayne, 4th Viscount Cullen sold 1713 to Robert Ashhurst (1671-1725); to son, William Ashhurst (d. 1735); to brother, Thomas Ashhurst (1701-65); to great-niece, Elizabeth (née Hoghton) (1761-1807), wife of Lewis Majendie (d. 1833); to son, Ashurst Majendie (d. 1868); to nephew, Lewis Ashhurst Majendie (1835-85); to son, James Henry Alexander Majendie (1871-1939); to daughter, Musette Frances Jacqueline Natalie Majendie (1903-81); to kinsman the Hon. Thomas Lindsay (b. 1937), who began the process of restoration; given 1994 to his son Jason Lindsay (b. c.1969), who with his wife Demetra is the present owner.

Ashhurst family of Waterstock, baronets

Ashhurst, Henry (d. 1645) of Ashhurst (Lancs). Son of William Ashhurst (d. 1618) of Ashhurst (Lancs) and his wife Margaret (d. 1614), daughter of Thomas Wilton. A Puritan, described by Richard Baxter as ‘zealous for the true Reformed Religion in a countrey where Papists much abounded’. He married Cassandra, daughter of John Bradshaw esq. of Bradshaw and had issue:
(1) Margaret Ashhurst (b. 1606?; fl. 1678), said to have been born in 1606; married Peter Sergeant of Newton (Lancs) and had issue three sons and three daughters;
(2) William Ashhurst (1607-56) (q.v.);
(3) Lt-Col. John Ashhurst (b. c.1609; fl. 1678), baptised 11 January 1609/10 at Bolton-le-Moors (Lancs); an officer in the Parliamentarian army (Capt., 1643; Major, 1645; Lt-Col), who was one of the defenders of Bolton in 1643 and among the besiegers of Lathom House in 1645; Governor of Liverpool; in 1651, about the time King Charles II passed through Lancashire on his way to defeat at Worcester, he defected to the Royalists, and he was said to be 'engaged in' Sir George Booth's rising in 1659; he was still living near Manchester in 1663 but by 1670 had emigrated to Ireland; married Elizabeth (fl. 1690), daughter of Richard Dukinfield of Dukinfield (Cheshire) and had issue, from whom descended a family which became extinct in the male line in the 18th century;
(4) Henry Ashhurst (1615?-80) (q.v.);
(5) Robert Ashhurst (d. 1669); died without issue and was buried 4 March 1669 at Wigan (Lancs);
(6) Jane/Anne Ashhurst (fl. 1678); married, by 1634, Henry Porter (b. c.1613; fl. 1665) JP of Lancaster and had issue;
(7) Mary Ashhurst (fl. 1678); married 1st, Andrew Stones of London, merchant, and 2nd, Theophilus Howarth (1614-71) of Rochdale (Lancs), doctor of physic and antiquary, and had issue.
He inherited Ashhurst's Hall, Dalton from his father in 1618.
He was buried 4 April 1645 at Bolton-le-Moors (Lancs). His widow was buried 10 March 1682/3 at Upholland.

Ashhurst, Henry (1615?-80). Third son of Henry Ashhurst (d. 1645) and his wife Cassandra, daughter of John Bradshaw of Bradshaw, born about 1616. He was apprenticed to a London merchant taylor about 1630 and became a freeman and citizen of London. He made a considerable fortune, and was an Alderman of the Common Council, 1668-80 and Master of the Merchant Taylors Company, 1670-71. He was a friend of the Puritan divine, Richard Baxter, who described him as "eminent for great benevolence, humanity and piety", and was one of the founders of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in foreign parts, of which he became Treasurer; he also promoted the translation of the Bible into Hindustani. He married, c.1643, Judith (d. 1690), daughter of William Reresby esq. of London, and had issue:
(1) Sir Henry Ashhurst (1645-1711), 1st bt. (q.v.);
(2) Sir William Ashhurst (1647-1720) (for whom see below, under Ashurst of Highgate and Castle Hedingham);
(3) Judith Ashhurst (b. 1649), born 3 June and baptised 11 June 1649 at St Augustine, Watling St., London; married, 26 December 1667, Sir Robert Booth (b. c.1630), kt., of London, merchant, and had issue a daughter (Judith Booth (d. 1705), who married Sir William Cowper (d. 1723), later Lord Chancellor of England and 1st Earl Cowper, and had issue one son, who died young); died after 1687;
(4) John Ashhurst (b. 1651), born 15 June and baptised 25 June 1651 at St. Augustine, Watling St., London; probably died young;
(5) Elizabeth Ashhurst (b. 1653), born 16 July and baptised 24 July 1653 at St. Augustine, Watling St., London; probably died young;
(6) Mary Ashhurst (1655-89), baptised 5 July 1655 at St Augustine, Watling St., London; married, 21 October 1673 at St Leonard, Shoreditch (Middx), Sir Thomas Lane (1652-1709), kt., Lord Mayor of London, and had issue two sons and two daughters; died 29 November 1689;
(7) Joseph Ashhurst (1656-83), born 1 September and baptised 14 September 1656 at St Augustine, Watling St., London; merchant taylor in partnership with his brother William at London; married, 10 January 1677/8 at St Leonard, Shoreditch (Middx), Dorothy (fl. 1687), daughter of Henry Cornish esq. but had no issue; will proved 12 January 1683/4;
(8) Benjamin Ashhurst (1659-87), born 29 October and baptised 13 November 1659 at St Augustine, Watling St., London; citizen and merchant taylor of London; died unmarried, 1687; will proved 27 September 1687.
He purchased the manor of Emmington (Oxon) in 1665.
He died of an infection arising from an operation to remove stones from his bladder and was buried 1 December 1680 at St Augustine, Watling St., London; his will was proved 23 December 1680. His widow was buried 9 August 1690 at St Augustine, Watling St., London; her will was proved 12 August 1690.

Ashhurst (or Ashurst), Sir Henry (1645-1711), 1st bt. Eldest son and heir of Henry Ashhurst (1615?-80) of London and his wife Judith Reresby, born in London, 8 September and baptised 14 September 1645 at St Augustine, Watling St., London. He was apprenticed to a London merchant taylor (Freeman, 1668; Assistant, 1696), and thereafter established himself as an overseas merchant, trading with the Levant, West Indies and North America; he became a member of the Levant Company in 1679 and of the New England Company in 1681. He remained active in trade until at least 1693 when he suffered heavy but far from crippling losses in the French attack on an Anglo-Dutch convoy at the Battle of Lagos. Like his father he had strong nonconformist sympathies, and moved in politically radical circles. He stood unsuccessfully for Parliament at Liverpool in 1670 and was active in Whig circles in London, 1679-81, before finally entering Parliament as MP for Truro in 1681. Throughout the 1680s he was a Whig loyalist, supporting and helping to defend radicals who were brought to trial, although he could not prevent the execution of his friend Henry Cornish in 1685. When King James II turned to a policy of religious toleration in 1687 he was willing to support a policy founded on liberty of conscience, and was created a baronet, 21 July 1688 and appointed Alderman for Vintry Ward on the Common Council of the City of London. However in December 1688 he rode out to Windsor to greet William of Orange and in 1689 he was active in arranging a City of London loan to the Prince. When he was again elected MP for Truro, 1689-95 he resigned his aldermanic place. As the new regime of William and Mary was established, Ashurst assumed numerous responsibilities including assessments commissioner for London, Middlesex and Lancashire, 1689-90; JP for Middlesex, 1689–1711; and London lieutenancy commissioner, 1689–1711. During three years as excise commissioner, 1689–91 he played a critical role in making and arranging loans to the government. He was again in Parliament as MP for Wilton in 1698-1700 and 1701-02, but by then his focus of interest had shifted to New England affairs. He was London agent for the assembly of Massachusetts, 1689-1701 and also for Connecticut, 1699-1710 and for New Hampshire, 1701-02, work in which he found a natural outlet for championing the puritan political and religious creed to which he had been bred, although he was dismayed by the gradual shift away from the puritan vision in New England: ‘Your young men’, he wrote to Wait-Still Winthrop in 1698, ‘have little regard to the old cause that brought them there, but are for high church and arbitrary [government]’, and he fought a losing battle on many fronts to defend the godly ethos of the colonies. He was the intimate friend and executor of the Hon. Robert Boyle, and trustee for the founding of the Boyle lectureship, and before his death he made Edmund Calamy and other presbyterian clergy the trustees for his livings of Waterstock and Emmington. After his establishment in Oxfordshire he became a Freeman of Oxford, 1692 and a JP and DL for Oxfordshire, 1701-10. He married, 1670 (licence 26 March) the Hon. Diana (1648-1707), sixth daughter of William Paget, 6th Baron Paget, and had issue:
(1) Sir Henry Ashhurst (1672-1732), 2nd bt. (q.v.);
(2) William Ashhurst (b. 1673), baptised 16 August 1673 at West Drayton (Middx); probably died young;
(3) Frances Ashhurst (c.1680-1743); married, 30 September 1699 in Chapel Royal, Whitehall, London, Sir Richard Allin (c.1669-1725), 1st bt. of Somerleyton Hall (Suffk) and had issue five sons and one daughter (Diana Allin (1700-86), who married Thomas Henry Ashhurst of Ashhurst (q.v.)).
He inherited the manor of Emmington (Oxon) from his father in 1680 (subject to his mother's life interest, which was extinguished in 1690) and purchased the adjoining Waterstock estate in Oxfordshire for some £16,000 in 1691. He built a new house there in 1695-96.
Having been "in a declining condition since the death of my late wife" he died on 13 April and was buried at Waterstock, 28 April 1711; his will, with many pious bequests and much urging of his surviving son to a godly life, was proved 11 May 1711. His wife was buried at Waterstock on 3 September 1707.

Ashhurst (or Ashurst), Sir Henry (1672-1732), 2nd bt. Only son and heir of Sir Henry Ashhurst (1645-1711), 1st bt., and his wife Hon. Diana, sixth daughter of William, 6th Lord Paget, baptised 18 January 1671/2 at St Sepulchre Holborn (Middx). Educated at Middle Temple (admitted 1689) and travelled abroad, 1689. He stood unsuccessfully for Parliament at Fowey in 1698 but became MP for Windsor, 1715-22. He married, 1712, Elizabeth (d. 1738?), daughter and co-heir of Sir Thomas Draper, bt. of Sunninghill (Berks) but had no issue.
He inherited the Waterstock and Emmington estate from his father in 1710. At his death it passed to his niece Diana, and her husband, Thomas Henry Ashhurst.
He died 17 May 1732, when the baronetcy became extinct; his will was proved 1 March and 28 July 1732. His widow survived him and is said to have died in 1738.

Ashhurst, William (1607-56) of Ashhurst (Lancs). Eldest son of Henry Ashhurst (d. 1645) and his wife Cassandra, daughter of John Bradshaw of Bradshaw, baptised at Bolton-le-Moors (Lancs), 13 July 1607. Tithe farmer to the Bishop of Chester. MP for Newton-le-Willows, 1642-48. In 1642 he contributed a horse and rider to Parliament's field army and later that year the Royalist forces occupied his estate; he lived in London for the remainder of the Civil War. He was a Presbyterian in religion, and in May 1643 he was appointed to the Parliamentary committee to prepare the legal cases against Archbishop Laud and Bishop Matthew Wren. Until 1646 he generally sided with the war party in the Commons and Sir Simonds d'Ewes regarded him as one of the ‘great promoters of this distructive civill warre amongst us’, but thereafter he became increasingly a supporter of negotiation with the king and the disengagement of the Scots from the war. His talents as a man of business secured his appointment to several major executive committees, including those for the revenue, sequestrations, and the admiralty, and he was also regularly named on committees to support the conduct of the war in the north of England. Late in 1646 he was appointed a parliamentary commissioner to oversee the withdrawal of the Scottish army from England. Although he claimed that he never received ‘any penny of the state's money’ in these employments, it was alleged in 1648 that he had been ‘a great gainer by the places he held all these troubles’ and in 1648 Ashhurst secured a parliamentary grant of £1000 ‘towards Reparation of his great Losses and Damages’ and appointment to the lucrative post of Clerk of the Crown in the County Palatine of Lancaster. He withdrew from Parliament shortly after Pride's Purge and was out of favour for a period, being briefly imprisoned when his brother defected to the Royalists in 1651. With the establishment of the Protectorate under Oliver Cromwell his career revived and he was again returned to Parliament as MP for Lancashire, 1654-56. He married, 7 January 1630, Dorothy (fl. 1653), daughter of Sir Thomas Ellis of Grantham (Lincs) and had issue:
(1) Henry Ashhurst (d. 1639), 'son and heir', buried 1 July 1639 at Upholland;
(2) Thomas Ashhurst (1639-1700) (q.v.);
(3) William Ashhurst (fl. 1653); died without issue;
(4) John Ashhurst (d. 1658?); died without issue; possibly the man of this name buried 10 August 1658 at Upholland;
(5) Henry Ashhurst (d. 1655); buried 15 December 1655 at Upholland;
(6) Jane Ashhurst (fl. 1653); died unmarried before 1664;
(7) Elizabeth Ashhurst (fl. 1653); married John Starkey of Grantham (Lincs);
(8) Margaret Ashhurst; married John Brownsell;
(9) Cassandra Ashhurst (d. 1684?); married, 2 April 1662 at Lincoln, Nicholas Greene, and had issue; perhaps the person of this name who was buried in Derbyshire, 23 April 1684;
(10) Mary/Maud Ashhurst (fl. 1653).
He inherited the Ashhurst estate from his father in 1645.
He was buried 12 January 1655/6 at Upholland; his will was proved 10 May 1656. His wife was living in 1653 but her date of death is unknown.

Ashhurst, Thomas (1639-99). Son of William Ashhurst (d. 1656) of Ashhurst and his wife Dorothy, daughter of Sir Thomas Ellis of Wyham (Lincs), born 1639. Educated at Grays Inn (admitted 1654) and Corpus Christi College, Oxford (matriculated 1655). Collector of Excise, c.1689. He married Susan, daughter and co-heir of Thomas Bosvile of Warmsworth (Yorks) and had issue including:
(1) Barbara Ashhurst (b. 1661), born before September 1661; alive in 1664 but probably died young;
(2) Dorothy Ashhurst (b. 1665), born 19 May and baptised 8 June 1665 at Upholland;
(3) William Ashhurst (b. 1669), born 1 March and baptised at Upholland, 18 March 1669; probably died young;
(4) Henry Ashhurst (b. 1670), born 20 August and baptised at Upholland, 29 September 1670; probably died young;
(5) Thomas Henry Ashhurst (1672-1744) (q.v.);
(6) John Ashhurst (1678-82), born 19 April and baptised at Upholland, 14 May 1678; buried 15 April 1682.
He inherited the Ashhurst estate from his father in 1656.
He was buried at Wigan, 19 December 1699. His wife's date of death is unknown.

Ashhurst, Thomas Henry (1672-1744). Third son of Thomas Ashhurst (1639-99) of Ashhurst (Lancs) and his wife Susanna, daughter and co-heir of Thomas Boswell of Warnsworth (Yorks), born 26 November 1672 and was baptised at Wigan (Lancs). Educated at Ormskirk Grammar School, Middle Temple (admitted, 1690; called to bar, 1697) and Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge (matriculated 1691). Barrister-at-law. Vice-Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, 1726-42; Recorder of Liverpool and Wigan. He married, 8 June 1718, Diana (1700-86), daughter of Sir Richard Allin, 1st bt. of Somerleyton (Suffk) and his wife Frances, daughter of Sir Henry Ashhurst (d. 1710), 1st bt., and had issue:
(1) Frances Ashhurst (1719-84), born 14 May and baptised at Upholland (Lancs), 30 May 1719; died unmarried, 11 November 1784; will proved 22 December 1784;
(2) Henry Ashhurst (1720-77), born 14 June 1720 and baptised at Wigan; educated at Exeter College, Oxford (matriculated 1738/9; DCL 1754) and Lincolns Inn (admitted 1741); inherited the Lancashire and Oxfordshire estates from his father in 1744 but sold the former in 1751 and thereafter lived in London; died unmarried, 10 May 1777;
(3) Thomas Henry Ashhurst (1721-56), born 16 June 1721; educated at Queen's College, Oxford (matriculated 1740/1; BA 1744/5; MA 1751); died unmarried, 4 December 1756;
(4) Sir William Henry Ashhurst (1726-1807), kt. (q.v.);
(5) Diana Ashhurst (1722-96), born 30 November and baptised at Upholland, 13 December 1722; died unmarried, 12 September 1796; will proved 6 October 1796;
(6) Susanna Elizabeth Ashhurst  (1724-79), baptised at Upholland (Lancs), 16 April 1724; married, 3 March 1746/7, Francis Clerke (1724-60) of North Weston (Oxon), son of Francis Carr Clerke of North Weston, and had issue two sons and two daughters; died 17 November 1779;
(7) Dorothea Ashhurst (1728-1803), baptised at Upholland, 3 October 1728; married, 28 May 1763 at Cherington (Warks), Spencer Schutz (c.1717-1805) of Inner Temple and later of Sunninghill (Berks) and had issue two sons; died 20 December 1803;
(8) Elizabeth Ashhurst (1731-1817), born 31 March 1731; married, 29 April 1755 at St James, Westminster (Middx), Rev. John Warner DD (c.1736-1800), who was Chaplain to the British Embassy in Paris from 1790 and was detained as a prisoner there by the French revolutionary government until 1795; they had issue four sons and one daughter; died 13 March 1817 aged 85 at Tiddington (Oxon).
He inherited the manors of Dalton, Upholland and Skelmersdale (Lancs) from his father in 1700, and the Waterstock estate in right of his wife on the death of her uncle, Sir Henry Ashhurst, 2nd bt., in 1732.
He died 27 April 1744. His widow died 27 November 1786; her will was proved 21 January 1788.

Sir W.H. Ashhurst
Ashhurst, Sir William Henry (1726-1807), kt. Third son of Thomas Henry Ashhurst (1672-1744) of Waterstock and his wife Diana, daughter of Sir Richard Allin, bt. of Somerleyton (Suffk), born at Ashhurst (Lancs), 22 January and baptised 5 February 1725/6. Educated at Charterhouse School, Lincolns Inn (admitted 1741) and the Inner Temple (admitted 1751; called to bar 1754). Special pleader, 1751-54 and then barrister-at-law, with a busy and profitable practice, 1754-70; auditor of the Duchy of Lancaster; Serjeant-at-Law and a justice of the Kings Bench, 1770-99, in which capacity he delivered a disproportionately high number of capital sentences and exhibited conservative views on the dangers of irreligion and immorality; knighted, 25 June 1770; one of the Lords Commissioners of the Great Seal during vacancies in the Lord Chancellorship, 1783 and 1792-93. According to Isaac Espinasse he was "without the bearing to command respect … His manner was confused and embarrassed, and he seemed to shrink from the eye of every one who approached him". However, despite his apparent "apathy and inattention" and the monotony of his hurried delivery, his judgments "were always correct, and, from his apparent inattention to the arguments, surprised by their accuracy. He stated the points of the case with brevity and precision, and they displayed no want of learning or discrimination". He married, 21 April 1772, Grace (1752-1807), daughter of Robert Whalley MD of Oxford and had issue:
(1) Grace Ashhurst (1774-1826), baptised 5 January 1774 at St Martin-in-the-Fields, London; married, 6 October 1796 at St Martin-in-the-Fields, London, George Dorrien (1766-1835), a Director of the Bank of England (Governor, 1818-20), and had issue two sons and four daughters; died 29 November 1826 and was buried at Berkhamstead (Herts), where she is commemorated by a monument;
(2) William Henry Ashhurst (1778-1846) (q.v.);
(3) Henry John Ashhurst (b. 1779), born 27 December 1779 and baptised 25 January 1780; died young;
(4) Capt. James Henry Ashhurst (1782-1817), born 5 August and baptised 3 September 1782 at St Martin-in-the-Fields, London; Captain of the 11th Regt of native infantry and deputy paymaster to the Nagpoor subsidiary force, died unmarried at Husingabad (India), 13 June 1817;
(5) Thomas Henry Ashhurst (1784-1857), born 8 January and baptised 7 February 1784 at St Martin-in-the-Fields, London; educated at Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1801) and All Souls College, Oxford (BCL 1806; DCL 1813); Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, 1806-57; ordained deacon, 1807 and priest, 1808; curate of Waterperry (Oxon), 1813 and Halton (Oxon), 1814; rector of Yaverland (IoW), 1819-30; curate of South Hinksey (Berks) c.1840-57; died unmarried, 13 October 1857; will proved 29 October 1857.
He also had issue an illegitimate son, born some years before his marriage:
(X1) Brazil alias Brusel alias Brazier Ashhurst (c. 1758-1836); wig-maker, recalled by later generations as 'shiftless and lazy... with a sense of entitlement'; married 18 July 1785, Mary Hook, and had issue two sons (the younger of whom was given his grandfather's name and became a prominent radical solicitor in London), and one daughter; died aged 78 and was buried at St. John, Hoxton (Middx), 1 February 1836.
He lived at Spring Garden Road, Westminster (Middx). In about 1760 he bought the Mount Pleasant (later Belmont) estate at East Barnet (Herts), which he sold when he inherited the Waterstock estate from his mother in 1786. He rebuilt the house at Waterstock in 1787-91.
He died 5 November and was buried at Waterstock, 12 November 1807, where he is commemorated by a monument; his will was proved 2 December 1807. His wife died 'after a short but painful illness', 6 February 1807.

Ashhurst, William Henry (1778-1846). Son of Sir William Henry Ashhurst (1726-1807), kt., and his wife Grace, daughter of Robert Whalley MD of Oxford, born 19 October and baptised at St Martin-in-the-Fields, London, 24 November 1778. Educated at Charterhouse, 1790-94 and Worcester College, Oxford (matriculated 1796; BA 1798; DCL 1810). Served in Bullingdon Cavalry Volunteers (Cornet, 1798; Lt., 1806); Steward of Oxford Races, 1800. JP and DL for Oxfordshire (Chairman of Quarter Sessions, 1822-46); High Sheriff of Oxfordshire, 1810-11. MP for Oxfordshire, 1815-30, in which capacity he was a supporter of the agricultural interest and an opponent of Catholic emancipation. On his estate he was a progressive dairy farmer and a promoter of enclosure; President of Oxfordshire Agricultural Society, 1837-46. A glowing obituary described how "his death has thrown a gloom over the whole county; cheerful, generous and good, he fulfilled the character of a thorough English country gentlemen, combined with that of the higher character of a Christian". He married 1st, 10 December 1806 at Woodford, Elizabeth Frances (d. 1828), eldest daughter of Oswald Mosley of Bolesworth Castle (Cheshire) and 2nd, 15 August 1839 at St George, Hanover Square, London, Selina, eldest daughter of Sir John Morshead 1st bt., of Trenant Park (Cornwall) and widow of Sir Charles Mill, 10th bt. of Newton Bury (Hants), and had issue:
(1.1) William Henry Ashhurst (1808-43), born 5 April 1808; educated at Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1826); died unmarried in the lifetime of his father, 15 June 1843;
(1.2) Frances Elizabeth Ashhurst (c.1810-39); married, 27 July/13 August 1836 at Waterstock, Maj. Thomas George Harriot of Twickenham (Middx) and had issue; died 15 May 1839 aged 29 and was buried at Twickenham, 22 May 1839;
(1.3) Caroline Ashhurst (c.1811-1904); married, 14 April 1847, Ven. Charles Carr Clerke (d. 1877), Archdeacon of Oxford and Canon of Christ Church, Oxford, but had no issue; as a widow lived with her brother James; died 25 December 1904 aged 93; will proved 1 February 1905 (estate £16,925);
(1.4) John Henry Ashhurst (1813-85) (q.v.);
(1.5) Mary Ashhurst (c.1817-96); lived with her brother James; died unmarried, 4 February 1896, aged 78; will proved 24 February 1896 (effects £10,026);
(1.6) Canon James Henry Ashhurst (1818-96), born August 1818; educated at Charterhouse and Exeter College, Oxford (matriculated 1836; BA 1840; MA 1843); ordained deacon, 1842 and priest, 1844; curate of Aston (Oxon), 1842-44; perpetual curate of Little Milton, 1844-48; vicar of Great Milton, 1848-56; rector of Waterstock, 1856-96; Canon of Christ Church, Oxford, 1874-96; Rural Dean of Cuddesdon; Hon. Treasurer of the Diocesan Church Building Society; died unmarried, 11 February 1896; will proved 11 March 1896 (estate £37,514);
(1.7) Henry George Ashhurst (1821-82) of Old Court House, Richmond (Surrey), born 1821; he may have spent some time in Australia or New Zealand in the 1840s; later merchant in London; Chairman of the Newry and Armagh Railway Co.; a director of the Emigrant and Colonist Aid Corporation, which named Ashhurst (New Zealand) after him; married, 30 August 1843 at St Philip, Liverpool (Lancs), Caroline (c.1818-96), daughter of Alexander Smith of Liverpool and had issue; died 23 April 1882 aged 61; will proved 6 June 1882 (effects £11,847);
(1.8) Rev. Frederick Thomas Henry Ashhurst (1828?-70), perhaps the son born 13 September 1828; married, 25 April 1865 at St Thomas, Agar Town, Camden (Middx), Marianne, daughter of William Thompson and widow of Edward Storer of Morpeth, surgeon, but had no issue; died 11/12 October 1870 aged 45 and was buried at Kingston, Tasmania (Australia).
He inherited the Waterstock estate from his father in 1807.
He died 3 June 1846; his will was proved 10 July 1846. His first wife died 1 October 1828. His widow died 25 March 1862; her will was proved 16 April 1862 (estate under £20,000).

Ashhurst, John Henry (1813-85). Second but eldest surviving son of William Henry Ashhurst (1778-1846) of Waterstock and his first wife Elizabeth Frances, daughter of Oswald Mosley of Bolesworth Castle (Cheshire), born 20 October 1813. Educated at Exeter College, Oxford (matriculated 1831). JP and DL for Oxfordshire and JP for Buckinghamshire; High Sheriff of Oxfordshire, 1852. He married, 10 August 1848, Elizabeth (1829-87), daughter of Thomas Duffield MP of Marcham Park (Berks) and had issue:
(1) William Henry Ashhurst (1851-1929) (q.v.);
(2) Emily Frances Ashhurst (1855-1929), born Jul-Sep 1855; married, 4 October 1881 as his second wife, Col. Edmund Ruck Keene (1822-88) of Swyncombe Park (Oxon) but had no issue; died 27 March 1929;
(3) Charles Henry Ashhurst (1856-1919), born 8 November 1856; educated at Exeter College, Oxford (matriculated 1875); an officer in Royal Carnarvon Regt (Lt., 1878) and Royal Sussex Regt. (2nd Lt, 1879; Lt., 1881; Capt., 1887; Major, 1898); married, 8 April 1896 at Rathcormac (Cork), Milly Kathleen, daughter of Maj. John Augustus Warren of Ballyglissane (Cork); died 3 May 1919;
(4) Grace Mary Ashhurst (1859-1934), born Jan-Mar 1859; married 29 April 1887 at Swyncombe (Oxon), Lionel Boulton Campbell Lockhart Muirhead (d. 1925), eldest son of James Patrick Muirhead of Haseley Court (Oxon) and had issue; died 18 November 1934;
(5) Oswald Henry Ashhurst (1868-87), born 27 May 1868; died unmarried, 1 March 1887; administration of goods granted 20 April 1887 (effects £6,866).
He inherited the Waterstock estate from his father in 1846.
He died 5 November and was buried at Waterstock, 12 November 1885; his will was proved 2 February 1886 (effects £5,377). His widow died 15 January 1887, aged 58.

William Henry Ashhurst,
by J. St. H. Lander, 1915
Ashhurst, William Henry (1851-1929). Eldest son of John Henry Ashhurst (1813-85) of Waterstock and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Duffield MP of Marcham Park (Berks), born 29 December 1851. Educated at Eton and Emmanuel College, Cambridge (matriculated 1871). JP and DL for Oxfordshire; High Sheriff of Oxfordshire, 1891; Chairman of Oxfordshire CC, 1911-29 and of Thame Rural District Council, 1894-1929; High Steward of the City of Oxford, 1927-29; Master of the South Oxfordshire Hounds, 1895-1900. Appointed CBE 1920. He married, 8 July 1882, Catherine Sophia (1857-90), second daughter of Arthur Henry Clerke Brown of Kingston Blount (Oxon) and had issue:
(1) Gladys Mary Ashhurst (1883-1949) (q.v.);
(2) Awdry Frances Ashhurst (1888-1975), born 19 March 1888; married, 16 September 1919, Lt-Col. Harry Launcelot Ruck Keene DSO OBE JP (1868-1944) of Handley Cross, Cantley (Yorks WR), son of  Col. Edmund Ruck Keene of Swyncombe House (Oxon) and had issue two sons, the elder of whom (Harry William Arthur Ruck Keene (1920-2001)), inherited Waterstock on the death of his aunt; died September 1975.
He inherited the Waterstock estate from his father in 1885.
He died 15 December 1929; his will was proved 7 February 1930 (estate £103,350); administration of his remaining goods was granted 17 August 1940 (further estate £30,822). His wife died in February 1890.

Ashhurst, Gladys Mary (1883-1949). Elder daughter of William Henry Ashhurst (1851-1929) and his wife Catherine Sophia, daughter of Arthur H. Clerke Brown of Kingston Blount (Oxon), born Apr-Jun 1883. JP for Oxfordshire, 1929-49; County Alderman, Oxfordshire CC; Chairwoman of Oxfordshire Women's Institute. She was unmarried and without issue.
She inherited the Waterstock estate from her father in 1929. At her death it passed to her nephew, Harry William Arthur Ruck Keene (1920-2001).
She died 27 February 1949; her will was proved 15 July and 7 December 1949 (estate £285,995).

Ashurst of Highgate and Castle Hedingham

Ashhurst, Sir William (1647-1720), kt. Second son of Henry Ashhurst (1616?-80) and his wife Judith, daughter of William Reresby of London, born 22 April and baptised 2 May 1647. Merchant Taylor in London, in partnership with his brothers, and a founding subscriber of the Bank of England, which he served as a Director, 1697-1700, 1701-03, 1704-06, 1707-09, 1711-14. He was made free of the merchant taylors company, 1668 (Asst, 1687; Master, 1687-88) and was a member of the Common Council of the City of London 1678-83 (Auditor, 1682-83) and an Alderman, 1687-1720; Sheriff of London, 1691-92; Lord Mayor of London, 1693-94. Whig MP for the City of London, 1689-90, 1695-1702, 1705-10. He was knighted by King James II, 31 August or October 1687. He shared his elder brother's interest in New England affairs and was a member and treasurer of the New England Company from 1681 and  Governor, 1696-1720. He served as an Excise Commissioner, 1698-1700 and 1714-20, and was President of Christ's Hospital, 1688; Col., 1689-90, Vice-President, 1689-1703 and President, 1708-20 of the Hon. Artillery Company; and a governor of Highgate School, 1697-1720 and of St Thomas' Hospital by 1719. Like his father and elder brother he was motivated by a sympathy for Dissenters, although there appears to be no record of his regular attendance at a nonconformist place of worship. He married, 8 September 1668 at Stoke Newington (Middx), Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Thompson, merchant, of Newington Green (Surrey) and had issue seven sons and four daughters including:
(1) Henry Ashhurst (1669-1705) (q.v.);
(2) William Ashhurst (fl. 1718); of Lincolns Inn; comptroller of the Stamp Office; married, 24 March 1697/8 at Hackney (Middx), Elizabeth Smith;
(3) Robert Ashhurst (1671-1725) (q.v.);
(4) Samuel Ashhurst (1676-1736), baptised 4 September 1676 at St Augustine, Watling St., London; citizen and merchant taylor of London; freeman of the City of London, 1700; married, 12 December 1705 at Beddington (Surrey) Sarah Child (fl. 1736) and had issue two sons and one daughter; buried at Castle Hedingham, 25 September 1736; will proved 28 October 1736;
(6) Benjamin Ashhurst (b. 1679; fl. 1722), baptised 10 July 1679 at St. Augustine, Watling St., London; apprenticed to Thomas Abney, citizen and fishmonger of London, 1696; married, 16 April 1722 at St Clement Danes, Elizabeth Webb;
(7) Nathaniel Ashhurst (fl. 1712-32); mentioned in the wills of his father and brother;
(8) Judith Ashhurst (b. 1678; fl. 1712), baptised 16 April 1678 at St Augustine, Watling St., London; married, 1705, William, son of William Thompson, and had issue a daughter (Elizabeth, who married her cousin, Thomas Ashhurst (1701-65));
(8) Elizabeth Ashhurst (b. 1684; fl. 1726), baptised 16 August 1684 at St Augustine, Watling St., London; married, 10 February 1725/6, Thomas Luck (d. 1752) of Kennett (Cambs) but had no issue; died before 1752.
He bought land at Highgate and built Ashhurst House there in 1694. At his death, Ashhurst House passed to his grandson, William Ashhurst. He may also have have had some involvement in his son Robert's purchase of the Castle Hedingham estate in 1713, although Robert's will states explicitly that he purchased the estate.
He died 'after a very long indisposition', 12 January and was buried at Castle Hedingham, 26 January 1719/20; his will was proved 18 February 1719/20. His widow died 14 March 1724; her will was proved 9 June 1724.

Ashhurst, Henry (1669-1705). Eldest son of Sir William Ashhurst (1647-1720), kt. and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Thompson of Newington Green (Surrey), baptised 4 March 1669. Educated at Wickhambrook (Suffk) and Inner Temple (admitted 1685; called to the bar 1693). Commissioner for Hackney Carriages, 1694-95; Attorney and Serjeant of the Duchy of Lancaster, 1697-1702; MP for Preston, 1698-1702; Freeman of Preston, 1697; Town Clerk of the City of London, 1700-05. A member of the New England Company, 1698-1705. He shared the nonconformist sympathies of his father and grandfather. He married, by 1699, Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Edward Grace of Eltham (Kent) and had issue:
(1) William Pritchard Ashurst (1699-1773) (q.v.); 
(2) Edward Ashhurst (1701-21), baptised 18 March 1701 at St Michael Bassishaw, London; educated at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (admitted 1717) and Christ's College, Cambridge (admitted 1720); buried at St. Augustine, Watling St., London, August/September 1721.
In 1703 he purchased a house (later 45-46 West Hill and now 79 West Hill) at Highgate, close to Ashhurst House. This passed to his widow and later to his elder son.
He died at Bath in the lifetime of his father, 30 October 1705, and was buried at St. Augustine, Watling St., London.

Ashhurst, William Pritchard (1699-1773). Elder son of Henry Ashhurst (1669-1705) and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Edward Grace of Eltham (Kent), born 17 and baptised 25 May 1699 at St Martin Orgar & St Clement Eastcheap, London. Educated at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (admitted 1717). Captain (and later Colonel) of the Middlesex militia. He was unmarried, but in his will made provision for Mary Ashhurst, widow, of Exeter Court in the Strand and her daughter Hannah, who may have been his illegitimate child.
He inherited Ashhurst House, Highgate from his grandfather in 1720, which he sold in 1725 and 45-46 (now 79) West Hill from his mother, which he sold in 1770. He lived at Trevor Park, East Barnet (Middx).
He died 31 May 1773 and was buried at East Barnet, 5 June 1773; his will was proved 10 June 1773.

Ashhurst, Robert (1671-1725). Third son of Sir William Ashhurst (1647-1720), kt. and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Thompson, merchant, of Newington Green (Surrey), baptised 12 May 1671 at St Mary, Stoke Newington (Middx). Apprenticed to John Thompson of London, salter, 1686, but later a citizen and sugar-baker of London; governor of the New England Company; JP and DL for Essex. He married 1st, 7 March 1693/4 at St Sepulchre, Holborn (Middx), Elizabeth (d. 1721), daughter of John Gunston of Stoke Newington (Middx), and 2nd, 1723 (licence 18 May), Judith Woolley (d. 1753), and had issue:
(1.1) William Ashhurst (1696-1735) (q.v.); 
(1.2) Elizabeth Ashhurst (1697-1768), baptised 9 January 1697/8 at St Nicholas, Cole Abbey, London; married, 12 September 1717 at All Hallows, London Wall, London, Edward Richier (d. 1728); will proved 14 January 1768;
(1.3) Thomas Ashhurst (1701-65), baptised 27 June 1701 at St Nicholas, Cole Abbey, London; citizen and salter of London (Master of the Salters Company, 1755); inherited the Castle Hedingham estate from his brother in 1735 and left it at his death to his great-niece, Elizabeth Hoghton (1761-1807); married, 5 November 1734 at St George-the-Martyr, Queen Square, London, Elizabeth Thompson (d. 1773) and had issue one son; buried 21 May 1765 at Castle Hedingham; will proved 24 May 1765;
(1.4) Robert Ashhurst (b. 1703), baptised 5 February 1702/3 at St Nicholas Cole Abbey, London; probably died young as he is not mentioned in the will of his father or brother;
(1.5) Sarah Ashhurst (1705-55), born 22 February 1704/5 and baptised 10 May 1705 at St Nicholas, Cole Abbey, London; died unmarried in 1755; will proved 15 April 1755;
(1.6) Mary (k/a Molly) Ashhurst (1708-65), baptised 26 November 1708 at St Nicholas, Cole Abbey, London; married 1st, 6 March 1731 at Walcot, Bath (Somerset), Thomas Houlding and had issue; married 2nd, 7 February 1739 at All Hallows, London Wall, London, Archibald Maclean (d. 1765) and had further issue; buried 19 July 1765 at Bunhill Fields nonconformist burial ground, London; will proved 26 July 1765.
He purchased the Castle Hedingham estate from Charles Cokayne, 4th Viscount Cullen, in 1713 and built a new house in the bailey of the old castle.
He died 25 February 1725 and was buried at Castle Hedingham; his will was proved 18 March 1725. His first wife was buried at Castle Hedingham, 30 June 1721. His widow lived at Derby and died in 1753; her will was proved 26 April 1753.

Ashhurst, William (1696-1735). Son of Robert Ashhurst (1671-1725) and his first wife Elizabeth, daughter of John Gunston of Stoke Newington (Middx), baptised 25 March 1696 at St Nicholas, Cole Abbey, London. JP and DL for Essex; High Sheriff of Essex, 1728. He married, 12 December 1723 at Grays Inn Chapel, Elizabeth (c.1704-86), daughter of John Hollis of Whitechapel and had issue:
(1) Robert Ashhurst (d. 1728); died in infancy;
(2) Elizabeth Ashhurst (c.1730-61); married 25 June 1760 at St Botolph without Bishopsgate, London, Sir Henry Hoghton (1728-95), 6th bt., MP, and had issue a daughter (Elizabeth Hoghton (1761-1807), who married Lewis Majendie and carried the Castle Hedingham estate to that family); died 1761; will proved 7 June 1761.
He inherited the Castle Hedingham estate from his father in 1725. At his death it passed first to his brother, Thomas Ashhurst (1701-65) and then to his grand-daughter, Elizabeth Hoghton (1761-1807). His widow lived latterly at St. Albans (Herts) and Bedford Row, London.
He died 13 January 1734/5 and was buried at Castle Hedingham, 22 January 1734/5. His widow was buried at Castle Hedingham 3 February 1786; her will was proved in the PCC, 7 March 1786.


Burke's Extinct and Dormant Baronetcies, 2nd edn., 1841, pp. 17-18; Burke's Landed Gentry, 1925, pp. 39-40; VCH Oxfordshire, vol. 7, pp. 220-30; F.J. Powicke, 'The Rev. Richard Baxter and his Lancashire friend Mr. Henry Ashhurst', Bulletin of the John Rylands Library, 1929, pp. 309-25; A.S. Belzer, 'Three Generations of Unconventional Family Values: A Case Study of the Ashursts', Journal of Victorian Culture, 2014; ODNB articles on William Ashhurst (d. 1656) and Sir William Henry Ashhurst.

Location of archives

Ashhurst family of Waterstock: deeds, estate and legal papers, family photographs and personal papers of Gladys Ashhurst as a member of Oxfordshire County Council, 16th-20th cents [Bodleian Library, Oxford: Ashhurst papers]
Ashhurst family of Castle Hedingham: correspondence and papers, including genealogical material, 1728-1882 [Essex Record Office, D/DMh F29]

Coat of arms

Ashhurst of Waterstock: Gules, a cross between four fleurs-de-lis argent. The Ashhurst baronets are said to have used a variation on this: Gules, a cross engrailed or; in the dexter chief quarter a fleur-de-lis of the second.

Can you help?

Here are a few notes about information and images which would help to improve the account above. If you can help with any of these or with other additions or corrections, please use the contact form in the sidebar to get in touch.
  • Does anyone know the present location of the sketch of Arundel House reproduced above or the drawing of the side elevation of Ashhurst House? Both are said in the Survey of London to have been 'formerly in the Gardner Collection', which I have not traced.
  • Is anyone able to throw more light on my conjecture that the drawing labelled 'Arundel House' is actually of the Banqueting House?
  • Does anyone know more about the life and career of William Ashhurst (fl. 1718), Comptroller of the Stamp Office, who seems curiously invisible in the records. He was probably born in 1670; married in 1697 and held his post at the Stamp Office at least during the period 1712-18, but I have not been able to trace his baptism or those of any children he may have had; nor have I been able to find a record of his death, burial or will. It would also be interesting to know more about the life of his younger brother, Nathaniel Ashhurst (fl. 1713-32).

Revision and acknowledgements

This post was first published 17 February 2016 and was updated 2 December 2016, 24 October 2017, 1 October 2018 and 28 July 2020. I am most grateful to Henry Manisty and John Leighfield for supplying an additional image, and to Allison Scardino Belzer and Kate Morris for additional information.